A five-run fourth inning output by Ashland was too much for the Ferris State University softball team to overcame as the Bulldogs suffered a 6-3 loss to the Eagles in the opening game of this Sunday's (April 18) Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) doubleheader at the FSU Varsity Softball Field in Big Rapids, Mich.
The contest was a scoreless tie through the initial three innings before Ashland exploded for five runs on as many base hits in the top of the fourth off Ferris State freshman pitcher Dana Bowler (Lockport, Ill.). A three-run home run by Tawna Garver over the left field fence was the decisive hit for the Eagles, who outhit the Bulldogs by an eight to seven margin.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Ferris State produced its first run of the game as freshman outfielder Morgan Kramerich (Crest Hill, Ill./Lockport) scored on a RBI single off the bat of sophomore first baseman Chelsea Morris (Jenison).
Ashland would build its lead back up to five runs in the top of the sixth at 6-1 with a single run on a hit to go with two FSU errors. The score stayed that way until the bottom of the seventh as Ferris State would narrow the gap to 6-3 thanks to a pair of runs on three hits in the frame. Freshman pinch-runner Delaney Eubank (Frankfort) would score the first run after being inserted into the game for junior catcher Rachel Mueller (Santa Clarita, Calif./Valencia), who lead off with a single. Senior outfielder Rachel Wade's (Canton) two-out RBI double scored Eubank to make it 6-2. Morgan Kramerich followed with a slap hit up the middle which allowed Wade to cross home plate for the Bulldogs' third run of the game. However, Ashland pitcher Emlyn Knerem was able to record an infield groundout to stop any FSU hopes of a comeback.
Leading Ferris State with two hits was Morgan Kramerich while Rachel Wade, senior designated player Rhea Flores (Dearborn Heights/Southgate Anderson), Chelsea Morris, Rachel Mueller, and junior shortstop Lynsay Weaver (Bay City/All Saints) all had one hit each.
In the circle, Dana Bowler (5-7) threw the first three innings and allowed five hits to go with five earned runs in taking the loss. Rhea Flores pitched the final four frames in relief and fanned four while giving up three hits.
The loss dropped Ferris State to 17-13 overall this season and 8-6 in the GLIAC while Ashland improved to 26-9 overall and 15-4 in the conference.